Toxic Chemicals in Everyday Products – Are You Worried Yet?

Have you ever asked yourself what toxic chemicals might be present in the things you use everyday? Because they are there and the manufacturers are not required to tell you.

I have been reading a book titled “Exposed” by Mark Schapiro. It is about “The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power.” I bought the book because of the first part of the sub-title. As it turns out it is really more about the second part.  research chemicals 

Even so, it has been eye-opening and I am only just starting on the third chapter. This current chapter has given me additional fuel for my arguments against scents, even though it was the previous chapter that dealt with the cosmetic industry. It is primarily due to my disgust at what I consider the overuse of scented products that prompts me to write this article, however it is my concern for the health of our children that compels me.

I have often wondered how fragrances that affect me so profoundly (severe headaches and migraine headaches, coughing and difficultly breathing) can be tolerated by so many others. Now I know that perfumes and colognes are bad for everyone. Not just me. Also indicted are soft plastics and children’s toys and teething rings.

There is a group of polyvinyl-chloride plastic softeners called phthalates (tha’-lates). They are not part of the structure of plastics; they are additives. They are everywhere: shower curtains, plastic bottles that are squeezable, and perfumes (for aiding adherence to the skin). They are in hospitals in medical tubing and the tubing for aquariums and carry along oxygen tanks. I am sure you can think of other soft and pliable plastic products. The reason that the dashboard in your car gets hard with age is that the phthalates slowly leave the plastic and enter the air in your car. They can enter your body through your lungs and even through direct contact with your skin.

Do I have your attention even though I have not yet said what is thought to be so bad about phthalates? This next bit is going to be long and maybe a bit boring but it is very important, so please read on.

Out of the whole group of phthalates, one of the most widely used is called DEHP or di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. Once ingested or even inhaled, it goes to the stomach were it is broken down into MEHP and is absorbed by the cells; including the pituitary gland cells. The pituitary gland releases hormones responsible for triggering the development of just about everything, including the brain, nervous system, ovaries and testes. These hormones are also responsible for turning on and off physiological, psychological and sexual characteristics.Many of the current studies that have been done regarding the affects of phthalates have been done on males. They have found that DEHP can impede the production of LH, a hormone that triggers cells in the testes to produce testosterone. How that happens is not yet clear. It is clear however, that when DEHP is present, LH levels drop and so testosterone levels drop and sexual malformations may follow.